American Toad

American Toad       Anaxyrus americanus

Type of Animal:

Forests, meadows, gardens, lawns, semi-permanent freshwater pools/ponds, back/front yards, farmland, marshes, swamps, bogs, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, mountainous areas, scrub forest, chaparral, parks, prairie, residential areas, roadside ditches, flat grassland, woodlands, suburbs, rural areas, urban areas, riparian areas

US E of extreme NE Texas, E Oklahoma, E Kansas, tiny parts of E Nebraska & E South Dakota, & E North Dakota & south to W & N Mississippi, Louisiana-Mississippi border, N Alabama, & N Georgia. Also found in S Canada from E Manitoba eastwards.

Eastern subspecies changes color from yellow to brown to black, from solid colors to speckled, each spot has 1 or 2 warts, enlarged warts on lower leg below knee, belly often spotted, very few markings. Dwarf subspecies dark red to light red, warts darker than skin, smallest subspecies (reaches 2.25 in max). Hudson Bay subspecies reddish w/ high number of warts. Males smaller w/ darker throats.

Adults eat crickets, moths, ants, sow bugs, pill bugs, roaches, beetles, grasshoppers, mosquitoes, flies, spiders, worms, snails, slugs, insect larvae, grubs, centipedes, baby mice, & salamander larvae. Tadpoles eat algae.

Status in Wild:

Breeding from zoos, aquariums, nature centers, & private breeders

Adults solitary or groups of 2-10 toads. Tadpoles in large groups & toadlets in small groups.

Additional Info:


Male-1.65 oz
Female-2 oz

1 week 

Life Span:
10 years

Body Length:
Male-2 in
Female-3.5 in

Main predators of adults are snakes, raptors, carnivorous/omnivorous mammals, & wading birds. Diving beetles, predaceous diving bugs, giant water bugs, many fish, crayfish, dragonfly nymphs, & many birds prey on tadpoles.

Spend 1st 2 months in water as tadpoles, then move onto land & become toadlets until sexual maturity reached at age 2.

Males make cricket-like trill in spring to attract females.

Adults more nocturnal than toadlets who sometimes come out during the day

Females can lay thousands of eggs in a season.

They can burrow up to 3 ft underground to hibernate in cold weather.

Fun Fact(s):
Some antipredator behaviors involve playing dead & puffing up their bodies.

Warty skin produces poisonous milky fluid, which is harmful if swallowed or in the eyes. Poison provides great protection from many potential predators. Tadpoles have these defensive chemicals as well.

Toads don’t cause warts.

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